Roll Around The Block – where to go!
So you have a kid (aged 2-12) and a camera – where to now? We have come up with some ideas that hopefully will give you some fabulous photographic opportunities – and a day (or outing) to remember.
Roll Around The Block is an opportunity for children to take over the camera and capture photographs that share their unique view of the world around them. Meetoo and tiny & little are very excited to bring this project to the National Gallery of Victoria as part of the Melbourne Now Children’s Festival this January. If you haven’t already read all the details about what Roll Around The Block is head over to the introduction page now for a quick explanation.
What to look for
When you choose a “block” for the kids to take their “roll” of film (aka 24 photographs) there are certain things to take into consideration. Obviously this depends on the age and personality of your child/ren too. But some thoughts to consider when choosing your “block” are:
- Are there exciting things to do and see – which potentially might be distractions rather than subject material (e.g. a water slide park you’ve never been to might be a bad idea if you have a energetic water baby who just wants to swim and go on the exciting slides).
- Will there be lots of activities where little ones will need their hands to do other things (similar to above – but craft activities and playgrounds need hands and concentration that wont leave much time for photography).
- Should your child be concentrating on the experience rather than their photography?
- Other distractions can include friends (especially if they aren’t joining in the experience), food (or lack of), energy levels and so on.
- Always ensure your child is safe – they might be so engrossed in their photography they may not necessarily notice they are in potential danger so you may need to provide their peripheral vision.
“Block” attributes that are conducive for photography excursions:
- Are you visiting somewhere familiar or taking an everyday route – then this is a perfect way to experience it in a new way (we rolled around our own local block and searched for circles, but you could choose a colour or any number of themes – click here for more ideas).
- Is your “block” somewhere that requires looking not touching – then this can be an excellent way to occupy and keep hands busy!
- Is your block somewhere that requires walking and looking – then this again can be a fantastic way to get your little one to slow down and consider.
Just remember that your block might be something quite quick (like the roll Immi did around our own block) or it might happen over a few hours. When we visited Melbourne Now at NGV Australia our “block” was the entire gallery. And throughout the gallery there were numerous activities for the children to engage in – so there were many moments where photographs weren’t taken as we were too busy having experiences. However when we did pass through a space where we were just looking the children would consider the artworks they liked and some made it into their photographs, click here to see.
Before you kick off your “block” it’s a good idea to give your kids a brief about what they are doing. If they are older they will have a concept of counting, time and what’s a beginning and an end – but little ones will need help with this. Give them an idea of where they are going and how long you’re spending so that they can pace their photography taking. By setting a theme you might find that, depending on its difficulty, this might actually speed things up – when we chose circles on our local block Immi (8) had to start being quite selective as it became apparent very quickly that circles are everywhere and we would have finished our block four houses up!
Ideas for Melbourne views
- Federation Square and along Birrarung Marr (visit ArtPlay and the playground on your travels)
- Southbank, from Riverslide Skate Park to Polly Woodside – perhaps stop by the Eureka Skydeck
- Docklands including the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
- Fitzroy Gardens
- The foreshore along Williamstown
- Brighton beach
- Inner suburban rail bridges – not only a good spot to watch trains but often provide a glimpse of the city skyline
- Join the Culture Mamas for a guided tour
Ideas for outdoor spaces
- Botanical Gardens and the Children’s Garden
- Melbourne Zoo (and of course Keeper Kids and Growing Wild)
- Your own block, your local park, your favourite cafe, shops or a market (Prahran Market)
- The Shrine – while you’re there the Family Explorer Trail is free and suitable for school aged kids
- Jells Park
- The Australian Open
- Luna Park
- Collingwood Children’s Farm
- Herring Island
Ideas for indoor spaces
- NGV Australia (Federation Square) – Melbourne Now
- NGV International (St Kilda Road) – Melbourne Now
- ACMI Screen World
- Melbourne Museum, check out First Peoples
Ideas out of town
- McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery
- Botanic Gardens Cranbourne
- William Rickett’s Sanctuary
- Point Nepean
- Sovereign Hill
- Emerald Lake Park and Puffing Billy
- Healesville Sanctuary
- Werribee Open Range Zoo
- Phillip Island
And of course search through the rest of Meetoo for more ideas!
For camera tips for children visit tiny & little for some easy pointers to get the kids in focus and well lit.